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Teenagers' Health and Wellness

Updated on February 4, 2020
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Giovanna was an SEN teacher and enjoys helping parents with school-aged dyslexic children cope with school workloads


Health and Wellness

When I graduated as a school teacher I chose to work with teenagers because I felt they needed all the help they could get, to say that they are misunderstood is an understatement.

I have had some extremely happy times working with teenagers - but they need very careful handling.

Childhood is over and now a new phase begins, this is a positive thing that is quite often overlooked. Parents and their teens are given a second chance - a fresh start. and the aim must be to build a great relationship together full of mutual respect, love, and understanding.

Making sure that your teens are getting everything they need can be a challenge. They need a special healthy diet, (and they won't want to eat it!) exercise (which they very often won't want to do), and a lot of sleep (something they usually want to catch up on during the day!) All these have to be monitored. Then there are their social activities, these need careful management too. It's just like all parenting, a huge learning curve, with lots of opportunities for parental sip ups!

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This video is very helpful and talks about food and nutrition for teenagers' health and wellness.

Mood Swings : could this be a sugar level issue?


Tips and Advice

  • It is vital to be honest and open with your teen and to be supportive. They do not need criticism from you but guidance. They need parenting not friendship. You are there for them just in the same way as you were there when they were learning to walk or ride their first bike.

  • Educate your teen. Explain things like trick photography and photo-shopping that the media uses to produce unhealthy skinny images of people. Teach them what healthy actually means. Do not trust these things to the school.
  • Be a positive role model. They will look up to you and copy you no matter what you do.
  • Do not buy fast food too often. Try to cook from scratch using fresh ingredients and iencourage them to join you in the kitchen whenever possible. They will learn about nutrition if they are involved with preparing and cooking food.
  • Try to get your teen active in sports and develop a love for something like walking, swimming, or cycling. If they like sprots make sure they are part of a team, this will help with thir social life. Try to keep them active and away from the TV or computer - they will soon become a couch potato if you don't encourage and model a better way of being. Be active with them in this respect it is no different to when they were younger.
  • Never let them have a computer or TV in their bedroom - it's just not good parenting. When they hit 17/18 it'll be too late, they will do what they like, but young teenagers can and should be closely monitored. They will fight you on this one but you have to set the rules and stay firm. Your house your rules - tough love - and all that stuff applies here!
  • Many teens are more computer literate than their parents and may know how to change parental controls. This leaves them exposed to things like cyber bullying or grooming which will affect their entire lives. Make sure they know that you are around when they are on line.

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More advice for young inbetweenies and younger teens

  • Set rules and boundaries and stick to them. Gradually give them more and more responsibility in the home, where they are safe to make mistakes and learn about the consequences of their actions. Monitor the choices they make and be there to help them through the tough times, because they will make mistakes. The important thing is that they make small mistakes and that they learn from them.
  • Teens should never experience the feeling of being left to their own devices without a caring adult knowing where they are, who they are with, how they will be getting home, and what they are going to be doing. Theseare the things that they need to make them feel safe. Feelings of insecurity can lead to reckless behavior and worry. It can make them vulnerable and more open to peer pressure. That's when they will be at risk of making big mistakes.
  • Brace yourself because the tough times will come with broken hearts, exam nerves, falling out of friendships etc but we've all been there, so we can support them. Remember how hard it was!
  • Teens need some free space and independence and they should spend time with their peers.You have to learn to trust them. But this trust has to be earned and given to them gradually. They will not suddenly be old enough to stay out all night, no matter what they say!
  • It is not advisable to allow teens to just 'hang' with each other without anything constructive to do. Many parents believe that teens should spend as much time as possible in each others' company and without adults or younger people around. But research shows that teens are happiest when they are in mixed groups that mirror society as a whole. Nobody wants to hang around bus stops or the street corners with nothing to do but get into trouble out of sheer boredom.

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In conclusion

As a teacher in multicultural London, I have worked with teens from all over the world and the most unhappy ones, without exception, were those who didn't have a loving and supportive adult in their lives. It doesn't even have to be a parent or parents although I suppose the latter is the ideal.

Remember you are the role model not the pop idol.

Hope these few words help.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Giovanna


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